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tv   Confronting Coronavirus A PBS Newshour Special  PBS  March 19, 2020 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by wshour productions, llc >> woodruff: a fast-moving, invisible enemy sweeping across obe, emptying streets and schools, grinding travel to a halt, shutteringusinesses and crashing markets... >> i am officially declaring a national emergency. >> woodruff: ...turning lives upside down. we collected your questions, coronavirus," we' search for answers. >> to protect the american people, we'll consider anything and everything. >> woodruff: ande'll look to the future and what it may hold. >> the rule of the game is,
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never give up. >> woodruff: welcome to our pbs newshour special, "confronting i'm judy woodruff. a virus none of us can see with the naked eye has turned our lives upside down in ways we couldn't imagine just a few weeks ago. most of us are anxious because so much has changed so fast;ec frightenedse so much is unknown. knowing that, we decided to try to address some of your concerns. over the past we, we've collected your questions, and, experts to answer many of them.f they cover your own personal alth, the economy, and h prepared we are as a country for this threat.te we'll also hear from dr. anthony fauci of the national institute of allergyct and inus diseases, probably the most respected voice in the nation right now.
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but to begin, a look awe got here. >> it's all over the world. it's incredible what's happened in such a short period of time.> oodruff: only a few months ago, the disease now known as "covid-19" is believedo have originated at one seafood and poultry market in the city of wuhan, china. in late decemb, health officials in that city began reporting dozens of cases of pneumonia with no known cause. the chinese government was slow toisclose the extent of th outbreak, but officials soon identified a new flu-le respiratory virus belonging to the family of coronaviruses, named for the crown-like spikes on their surface. >> we've been expecting a novel coronavirus to emerge for the wst 15 years. druff: peter daszak is a zoologist who s spent years studying how diseases spread from wildlife to humans, andsp lookinifically at coronaviruses. virus that causes d-19 isatthe
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one e found inats in 2013. and there are hundreds of other coronaviruses that are very closely related to this one. >> woodruff: there are seven known types of coronavus that can ctur fo cause mild symptoms each year, like the common cold. another is severe acute respiratory syndrome, or sris, which alsonated in china in 2002 and ha8,since infected 0 people around the world, killing abt 10% of them. yet another is middle east respiratory syndrome, or mers, which bre out in 2012 and 2013 in saudi arabia, infected nearly 2,500 and kill more than 850, -1at's about 35% death rate. >> this one, cov has a much lower mortality rate, but still at least ten times higher than the season flu. so, it's lethal, and it also
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spreads very easily. >> woodruff: the virus appears to pass through droplets in the air and on surfaces. children seem less susceptible to covid-19, and the majority oe le recover without hospitalization. but it's especially dangerous for older adults and those with underlying health problems.e th currently no available vaccine for covid-19. c >> the answer taining is we can't rely on a vaccine in the next several months to a year. >> woodruff: after covid-19 spread in wuhan in january, chinese officials began drastic measures to contain it-- building temporary hospitals to isolate cases, forcing people into quarantine, and even separating family members. but by mid-january, thrgworld healthization reportedha that covid-1escaped china, first to thailand, japan and south korea, and thend. the united states confirmed its
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first case in washington state, and with cases growing around the globe, by the end of the month, the w.h.o. declared a global health emergency. >> the main reason for declaration is not because of what is happening in china, but because of what is happening in other countries. >> woodrf: yet, early on, president trump consistently downplayed the threat from the virus. >> we have it totally under control. looks like by april. you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away. hope that's true. e risk to the american people remains very low. >> woodruff: but isoon became clear the u.s. wasn't doing enough testing to understand how ickly it was spreading here. >> we cannot stop this pandemicw if we don't kn is infected. >> woodruff: as more cases were confirmed, schools and businesses closed, markets plunged, and, late last week, president trump announced a national emergency and changed
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his tone. >> it's not a good situation. and i'm not even talking about the economy. i'm talking about the lives of a lot of people. >> woodruff: but as testing ramps up and huge parts of the country are shutting down, there's concern about whether it's too late to prevent a crush at the nation's hospitals, and iran. already seen in italy meanwhile, in china, it appears that the drastic measures taken by the government are working; officials there say new infections have slowed dramatically. and two months after tok action, restrictions are being lifted, even as the full scope of this pandemic remains unclear. i'm joined tonight by my newshour colleague, amna nawaz. she is going to walk us through the wide range of questions we've received from viewers across the country. amna, you've been hearing a lots ries about how americans are coping. >> nawaz: that's right, judy. before we turn to thos questions, we nt to share some
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personal stories from some of our viewers, telling us how covid-19 is impacting their lives and their health. first, a california man who was under quarantine after testing positive for the virus. then, a new york woman who is sick but can't get tested. i'm quarantined inha.ldman. >> i'm theresa macph brooklyn, new york. >> not allowed to go outside my door. i'only allowed to answer m door with a mask on. >> i started feeling unwell on february 2 my fd to 102.5.kepieveri nt to the e.r. here in brooklyn and was tested for flu and strep but was nod.tested for co i was simply sent home for quarantine. they're only testing people who are very, very severe or extremely at risk, neither of which i am.de >> the mental f this definitely has added to the stress. when my wife returned two weeks ago to santa clarita, she never
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ago to santa clarita, she never d thviru retned san arit andeoplstilwere shunning her. >> it's really incredible that i haven't been able to be tested. if i had known if there had been a way to get early, an eas testing and i do have covid. and, again, it's unclear if i do t ve it. ving that knowledge would have saved me from maybe five or six days of unnecessarily exposing people around me.he >> i thinkardest part for me is being able to get back to nature. or just even stepping outside esh aiorlong lng ath ur wlsmy rm. nua foawe azmio sincfre setendia video, we should mention carl has been freed from quarantiom. he'sand doing well. but both stories raise concerns we heard from a numberr viewers, so we have two experts here to address them now. dr. ana wen is an emergency physician and public health professor at george washington she previously served as baltimore's health commissioner. and dr. william schaffner is a professor of infectious diseases at vanderbilt university's
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hool of medicine. thank you to you both for being here. i want to jump right in to some of these questions because we've sure got a lot.'s hene now from rachael stillwell, 52 yores old from woodland hills, california.ta laseen to her questions. >> what advice can you give to me about how to politely convince my 76-year-old mom who lives in oregon and has ery active social life that she should curtail some of her social activities with her friends that she's used to seeing almost every day? >> reporter: we've heard this from the federalovernment, social distancing especially for members of the vol memorable population, what do you say to rachael? >> i would say this your health and others around you. for your health because older people and those are chronicne medical iles are in the vulnerable to covid 19, and also this is for other people, too,we becaus know the best way,
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the only way at this point to reduce the spre of covid 19 is to socially distance. that doesn't mean you have to be emotionally distant, but to be physically distant from other people. this is for everyone in our society to improve their health during this critical time. >> snoo dr. schaffn, what's your advice for her? >> very similarand it's time for facetime rather than ce-to-face. we don't want to spread the virus and we don't want to acquire the virus, and the wayot to do that is to be in groups, not to be in face-to-face comnication with our friends. >> and all we can do is hope they listen. i want to go to another question gw. dr. schaffner, ing to ask you to respond to this first. from bill christianson, who is asking about a different segment of the population and what we know about coronavirus and covid 19. williamsberg, virginia.on from >> i understand children who are exposed to covid 19 are much less likely to have serious illness. i'd like the know if large
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poaplations of children pe in italy or china have been tested to determine ifthey have been exposed and, if they have, in fact, become carriers of the disease. >> dr. schaffner, what do we 1ow when it comes to children and cov >> well, we're learning much more about children. children ca in becofected, they don't get the seriouse dise they may get a milder illness or have no illness at all -- but it's becoming apparent they are good transmitters of the virus as with ieyfluenza, so an distribute it amongst themselves persons who may, indeed, have these chronic underlying conditions or, beca age, be more vulnerable. >> doctor, does that mean children will not get severely ill from the virus? >> actually, we are learning new information about this every day because this is a new ilness, and new research is coming out. it appears, based on the studies that, in china, children don't get seriously mill as dr. schaffner mention,
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hover, there are new studies that show young children under one year of age could get and dt get crally ill. so it is important for us to keep on monitoring and to member that all of us are sus susceptible to covid 19. no one is immune. this is a new disease and there's no vaccine, so that's why prevention is what we have to take into account and into our own han dds. schaffner, we're getting new information about the fact that, here in the u.s., there have been increased nuber of hospitalizations for younger members of the population, not this vulnerable, older population we keep talking about. what should we take away fr that information now? >> i t' ihiotves s this virus that can te a young person and put them in the hospital witn 48 hours it's a serious infection and,nd behat, you know, they can be transmitters to older people. so this is a message for the young people in our communities to get with the program and,
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also, participate in social distancing. >> reporter: dr. wen, what's your takeaway from that information today? >> i complety agree with drschaffner that this is -- none of us are immune from covid 19. we should take this extremely seriously. young pele are getting sick, just as older people are, and this is a situation that we can all prevent going forward by reducing the rate of transmission and, ideally, keeping up with social distcing, so as to stop the spread here in our communities. mu and because there is sh we don't know, we fielded a lot of questions about transmission, about how people can get it. one, from a woman i seattle, washington, stay stacy, says hog does the virus remain trance missable on various surfaces? affect its viability?umidity dr. wen, what do we know? >> we know that the virus lives potentially for a long time, depending on the type of surface. so hard, nonporous surfaces liko
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rknob, an elevator button virus could live between hours to days, depending on the other conditions, like humidity and temperature. porous sfaces, soft surfaces like hair and clothes, the virus lives for orter period of time. this is why, though, we need to practice rlly good had hygiene because we know that we're going to be touching many surfaces. touching things, but we can wash and water, red touchg ofh soap our face and also disinfecting surfacesround our house as well. >> reporter: i want to play a question fro66m deborahears old, in minneapolis, minnesota, and she wantto know whwe know about potential long-term effects of covid 19. take a listen. >> if someone recovers from covid 19, will they have long-term lung damage? >> reporter: we knny people may get sick, we know the vast majority will recover.
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dr. wen, do we know what the long-term effects are? i you become very sick from covid 19 and end up with pneumonia and on a ventilator, you do have lung damage and that could be permanent, but we do know that the vy st major people will have mild symptoms, mild illness, willecover and likely develop immunity to it in the future. >>. eporter: haffner, i ask you to give advice, people want to know, with regards to their own personal health and the health of everybody around left, what can they be doing now to help other people? >> well, the most thing -- the most important things u can do is reach out to people who are sequestered at home, hep them get their groceries, their medication, actually communicate with them through facetime, keep up theiir spts, and remind them that what they're for everyone else around them.nd we're all in this together. helpful information.bly
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thank you to both of you for being with usoday, dr. william schaffner and dr. leana wen. thank you toour questions as well. we'll have more later in the showh for tips ont you can be doing now to protect yourself from covid h9,ere's some tips from the cente for disease control. centers for disease control and prevention. ed. >> nawaz: the pandemic is not just a health crisis; it's also triggered an economic crisis, and it's already having a major impact on our jobs, our finances, and our futures. as the fears and uncertainty around covid-19 spread, financial markets have been left reeling. >> wall street crashed again, sth the dow jones industr falling... free-falling nearly 3,000 points, or 13 points-- the most in 30 years.aw >>: just one month ago, wall street was trading at record highs. today?vo tility is the new normal.
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trillions of dollars of market value have been wiped out, and fears of an approaching recession are growing. >> nawaz: u.s. stocks are now recent peak in febary.soir of the hardest hit industries? airlines and tourism. major carriers like american airlines, delta and united have been dealt a staggering blow and are asking for an immediate $50i ion injection of financial aid to avoid bankruptcy in theng coonths. u in the.s., several states have ordered bars and restaurants to close, leaving millions of workers uncertain about the future. >> i'm really concerned about how i'm going to pay my bills. >> naz: that concern is spreading as layoffs and umfurloughs begin across ar of sectors. ford, g.m. and fiat-chrysler have a temporarily closed u.s. plants. and as governments ask americans to avoid any gatheriten people or more, life in america
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as we know it is changing like never before. all that means amusement parks like disney world: shut down. major music festivals and urs: cancelled. professional and college sports: on hold.ve >> we have notseen a shock like this since 9/11. >> nawaz: the u.s. government is working to pass billions in aid, assistance and loans.de the fel reserve, in coordination with central banks around the world, slashed interest rates to zero in a t desperate effoshore up the financial system. but the deep and suctural shocks to the global economy are just beginning to befrom what experts call the worst public health crisis in a century. let's talk now about those shocks and what they mean today and down the line. joining us from chicago, austan goolsbee. he was the cir of president obama's council of economic advisers and is now an economics professor at the universitof chicago. here with me is michelle
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singletary, a personal finance columnist for the "washington post." thanks to both of you for being. i want to jump into the questions because people are wrried. austan, i want you to meet lnda elkin, a 70-year-old retiree fr st. louis, missouri. here's her first question. >> i'm retired and my pension is sinking like the titanic right now. ishere anything the government can do toelp retirees? >> reporter: austin, what about that? help coming for people like linda? >> well, yes and no. look, as we go through a perio like this and the stock market is down and then up a little and down some more, the government is now talking about short-run relief that they're going to send checks out to potentially every american or a lot ofl americans or americans below a certain income level, it will than a payroll tax cut would
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not paying payroll tax, but is think, in a moment like this where the virus has taken over and the economy's in lockdown, virus economics aren't the same as regular ecnomics, as i say. things are trying to protectt your health, the government's got to try to slow the spread of this virus, and we'vegot to just make sure we don'rph what is a short-term intense don't morph it into some that we long-run depression-like entity. >> reporter: michelle to that point, a different question from ppoi differently. a fey rachael kabagabu, 26 years old and lives in texas. she wants to know about herfu re. >> is it wise to change my investing? should i be concerned about whetr i am putting my money in? should by taking money out to
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have the stock market? what should i do concerning mype onal finances? >> reporter: in all this volatility, how does someone p like rachaocess that? >> the good thing is she's got youth on her time. she's got decades before retirement, so i would encourage her to continue to ivest her retirement because, right now, unfortunately for those of us o are closest to retirement, stocks are on sale, equities are aon salend she'll get more for her money. make sure that as she's investing she's diversified but i could say continue to go ahead. right now at this moment, it but it will end.even if it take, we're going to find a vaccinepe lly, and things will start to slowly recover and all thatth money, evenugh it's scary now, will start to increase, because that's how marts hav done historically. even the great depression ended. >> reporter: on that point, austan, i have a questionom fr
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diana in north carolina, sthoapts know -- she wnts to know how long it will go. are you as optimistic as michelle is? >> i would say yes, overall. what i would say to diana is, whenou're in an environment like this, it's not just have we, society, the nation, can d things to prevt this thing from turning into a long-run great depression-like catastrophe, andhis starts with the health aspect. weine got to inves slowing down the spread of the virus. the thing that's killing the economy at this ment isthat we're in lockdown. it doesn't mean we should just declare that it's not a lockupdo t. it does met if you follow the lesson, say, of south kor where they're doing extensive testing so if you lea your house there's a low chance
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you're just going to bump into many people who don't have he virus and don't know it yet, the only people goi into lockdown are people who have tested positive. we've got to move to that, otherwise, i don't think the nre relief where we hd you money to cover your bills is vitally important, but that's not a solution, it's just burning youroney to keep yourself warm. so we've gt to get on aath to get out of lokdn. otherwise, this thing could last a lot longer. but'm pretty optimistic that, if we start doing the right approach, that we could gt out of lockdown the way some other countries have been able to. >> reporter: in this moment, 're hearing from so ny people who live paycheck to paycheck who are already losing thr jobs. i'll play something for you from alexa coupens, lives in denver, colorado, works as a concert bartender and expresses this anxiety and worry we hea from a lot of people. take a listen to her now. >> i can't sleep. there's so much anxiety, i can't
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sleep. i'm having nightmares.kn i don' if i'm going to have a roof over my head next month. d i'm not scared of getting sick. i'm scared of losing my apartment. we're drowning. we need a lifoat. want to work. >> reporter: michelle, tarre a lot of people like alexa out there. what can you tell her right now? >> well, i wish i could tell her more. of us are going through it atall the same time, so be in constant contat with your lndlord. everybody is going through this. so it's unlikely they're going to evict her. so she's got several months before that's going to be an issue. so i would say that she's still going to have a roof over her head. m pretty sure about that. cut wherever she can nonessential expenses, and en just hunker down and just know that this, too, shall pass. she should file for unemploent
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right away so that there's some, and then that moneywill help her pay for the essential things. right now, focus on the essentials -- food, utilities -- and gain, talk to your landlord. utility companies probably won't turn off your power, so those things will help the >> reporter: austan, another question from a lot of people, very briefly, if you canthey want to know, when the federal government acts -- we hear about the blout money that could be coming -- how can we be sure it's going into the right hands, hands, i.e., the pocketso have the american people? >> that's the important par ep calling your congress people, the president, the white house. you saw the last caller, the anxiety and not being able to eep, it's very common, and people like that need to be rescued before we're going to rescue whatever, casinos and airlines and businesses. it is, lf we do noearn the lesson of the financial bailoutf
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008, which is, if you're going to save companies, put in some requirements and make sure that they are looking out for their customers and for their workers. there's going to be a backlash very similar to the e that we had before, but it's going to be bigger and worse because people are reallyafraid for their positions right now. >> a lot oworry and unrtainty the. austan goolsbee and michelle singletary. thank you. and thanks to all of you for your questions. confronting coronavirus means not just examining where americh is now buw countries around thworld are facing this global atndemic. and s where judy picks up things next. judy? >> woodruff: what began in china has now spread around the globe. if you've lost count, covid-19 now infects more than 170 countries and territories, with more confirmed cases and deaths every day. outside of china, among the
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first-hit was south korea, which has managed to slow the virus' spread through national effort. the same cannot be said for italy, which now has the most cases outside of china. for a look at how each of theseo tries is responding to this crisis, we turn to special coespondents in those countries: patrick fok in beijing; bruce harrison in seoul; and hermione kitson in italy. we welcome all of you to our spectl. let me stith you, patrick fok. tell mthow china has dealt wh this from the beginning and is there a sense they're begi to get it under control? >> well i think, judy, the best way of describing e sittion right now is it's incredibly unceneain. the headpiece of news today, of course, is there were no new domestic cases of infection. that's a massive step for cha to take. but, on the flip side, thereed were 34 impoases of the
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disease. that may not sound like an awful lot in the granscheme of things, whenou think of the tens of thousands of people across china that have been fected over the past several months, but, remember, just a day before, there were onl new cases of infection, so imported cases really is the situation that authoritins are grapplwith a lot right now, and the focus is shifting away from wuhan, the epicenter to have the viruor to majities like in beijing and shanghai, where most of those imported cases of infection are arriving and president xi jinping chairing a special covid 19 meeting on wednesday and said there was a real risk of th outbreak rebounding at this point. >> woodruff: patrick, is the government acknowledging what was done right an was done wrong, and do you believe them when they sa this is tapering off? >> well, the central government really hasn't accepted an awful
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lot of blame for this. from the beginning, it blamethd as being the fault of provincial leaders, provincia leaders of hubei province, and it's really portrayed the central government as having come in and ceaned up the mess, essentially, and in recent daysd it's portrhis as being a victory of sorts saying they have essentially reversed the spread of the virus and almost won the battle against the but that is why this is such a critical time for beijing because, if the is a second ve of this outbreak, there will be nobody to blme, at this point, and there is a lot of frustration among the people of china. they are fed up with the wsituation, they are fed th lockdowns. they want this situation to be over. >> woodruff: patrick fok in thank you so much. now to south korea, to seoul, and to bruce harrison.u so, bruce, korea seems to be one of the rare success stories in all of this. tell us how they've done it, how
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have they managed to bend the curve and is it actually working? judy, a strong sign the public believes the govt'ernm working is evident ton streets tonight in this neighborhood. you can see a lot of people out having dinner and drinks, and that wasn't the case here just a seemed far from control. but the government's done a good job building the public's confidence, and one of the main ways it's done that is through facing, tracking and isolating. so it's finding people it believes may have the coronavirus,esting them and quickly getting them into isolation, whether a homat quarantine o hospital, to make sure they don't get more sickusnd spread the vi further. an important part of that asp is that they interview these people, they find out where they have been and who they have been in contact with, so it leads to more testing down the road. another key part othe effort here has been communication. i get several text messages a day from the government telling me where new cases have been confirmed in seoul. that allows me to know where not
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go, or if i'm going somewhere to be a bit more cautious, andes all efforts are building trust in the government. the public here has been quite good at the guidelines the government has laid out, whether guidelines on washing hands, wearing masks on public transportation, all these things seem to be working to further prevent the spread of covid 19. >> woodruff: and, bruce, how concerned are people, though, about whether there's going to be a second wave, whether thioi is to linger and come back? >> judy, we've seen a small increase in cases, and this comes after seveceral coive days with a total number of cases had fallen below 100, and that was significant because, at one point, cases were over 900 in a single day. so there's been some optimism that maybe the virus outbreak had peaked here and the numbers would only fall going foward. it's too soon to say that, but n there's optimism the government will be able to bring these under control as well.
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we've seen south korea has the robust capability to test up to 15,000 people a d. there seems to be no shortage of tests now.ie comphave been stockpiling even before the first outbreak in this company, so i believe the public is hoping the governmentan target these new cluster infections and prevent large outbreaks like we saw in february before things get out of hand again. >> woodruff: bruce harrison reporting for us from seoul. thank you so much. now to italy to hermione kitson. hermione, italy has turned out tto be one of th disaster focpos ts of all of this. there an unerstanding now ofs what went wrong there? >> health authorities ieve that perhaps the virus was in circulation for quite some time before actually detected. it spread very, very quickly in the densely population of th north and while one region was declared aed zone and quickly
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locked down, the rest of the country wasn't, so people starred to tavel from the north to the center and down into the south of the country potsptially ading the virus. is perhaps the national lockdown could ve come into effect sooner. another element that comes into play when talking aout italy's high moatrtality re is its aging population. we have here the oldest population and the average age of coronavirus victim here is 80 years old, so a lot of people in gthat very hih risk category. >> woodruff: so,on her now that the lockdown has taken esfect, how have the healthcare services and theof the country are doing? do they feel the situation has crested? >> the healthcare system here really is struggling. it's overwhelmed to the breakingpoint. there are makeshift hospital wards spilling out into carrk warehouses. the medical staff on the front line say they really have never seen anything like it before. they describe a situation like d
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war zonehey say they're struggling to keep up with demand. the government had to put into service 10,000 student doctors nine months before they're due to graduate to boost capacity. so this is the second week of lockdo w. we're hopi will see the effects in the terms of the number of cases in the next few days. it's hoped the spike we've seen in th lest 24 hours could be the peak we're waiting for and will see thn e slowd the rate of infections in the next few days, but if we don't see have to continue. lockdown will >> woodruff: we're all watching and hoping for the very best in each one of these countries. hermione, thank you. thank you again to patrick fok, bruce harrison and to hermione kitson. their experience is what many people are looking to, to figure ouwhich direction the unit states is headed. will we end up like italy or more like south kore let's go back to amna. >> nawaz: from coast tcoast, scenes of a u.s. healthcare
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system bracing for the wor. temporary tents standing sentry outside some hospitals, winding lines of cars for a li supply of tests. medical professionals areerica's sounding the alarm about a loomesg crisis: likely shortag of everything from beds and ventilators, to face masks and gloves. >> if this burns through very, very quickly, we could be in trouble. there's just no two ways about it. >> woodruff: the white house call for "social distancing" is a crucial part of the national response. >> enjoy your home. stay. i would just say, right now, we have to get this problem fixed. >> woodruff: it's an attempt t"" flatten the curve" or slow the spread of the virus enough so that hospitals aren't overwhelmed with a surge of patients all at once. still, the u.s. healthcare system is readying for an influx of cases it will struggle to care for there are nearly 47,000 intensive care beds at community hospitals across the united
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states. but even a moderate outbreak, experts say, would reqe re quadruat, some 200,000 i.c.u. beds. so, for now, a scramble to the country.al capacity across in new york state, for example, the health depsptment is even ding up certifications of nursing students and calling on retired doctors and nurses to help. health officials leading the u.s. response are urging hospitals nationwi to postpone elective surgeries. >> let's all be responsible and cancel things that we can cancel to really free up hospital beds and space. >> nawaz: in whington state, the country's first virus hotspot, a clinical trial for a covid-19 vaccine kicked f this week. any vaccine rollout, however, wouldn't be ready for at least a year. among the biggest concerns to date? a failure to test enough people quickly enough, and ensuring frontline hethcare workers ve what they need to care for incoming patients and protect
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themselves. >> there were nurses exposed to a possible covid-19 patient.f i don't knowneed to be off until we get the patient's test results back. m left wondering what to do. >> woodruff: how will our system cope as america's doctors and usrses are hit by the very v they're trying to fight? those are the big questions: next, and how prepared is our health system? joininme here is: cherylth peterson oamerican nurses association, representing the interests of around four million nurses nationwide; a ashish jha, who runs the harvard global health institute and joins us froboston. welcome to you both, thank you for being here. i want to get right in tsome of these questions becaa e we sure havt. i want to introduce you to laine abramson, 54 years old, underlying respiratory issues, copd and asthma. she has a vey important question for both of you. take a listen. as someone who ha had to go
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to the emergency room because of the common cold, what isgoing to happen to me when the hospitals are overflowing and doctors have to decide who gets to live and who ge to die?y >> dr. jha, n't you take this first? what's your message to laine? o >> firall, we have to do everything absolutely possible to make sure we don't g to the point where doctors and nurses are havi to decide who gets to live and die. i would say take good cabe of yourself. take your medicines. if you feel ill, don't geo to th emergency department, but reach out to your doc try to stay away from the hospital. i'm hopeful that if you get sicc and nere, we will be able to provide that for you hopefully anywhere in the country. >> reporter: cheryl, what would you say to her? >> i agree. ink we're not at a place where we need to panic yesterday. however, we need to have our hospitals making lans now abou how are they going to make these
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very difficult decisions that may be down the line, and these are decisions that should not be made byront line healthcare providers and by doctors and y rses providing care, thst be made as a systems level and be grounded with our ethics. are decisions equitable? are they consistent? are they transparent? and when is the trig tore ke those decisions? and when's the trigger to stop? >> reporter: are you confidikt peoplelaine will get the care they need even if there's a surge of covid 19 ients? >> yes, i believe that we are going to do everything we can to patient who is in need of help. it may look a little dif than when it would if we were in a parchdemic, but we are here to care for people. >> reporter: let me ask you about very important work done by front line helthcare workers. i want to go to chevon jon among them. in westchester county, they have been on the front lines of one
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of the covid 19 hot spots. >> healthcare workers who are really, you know, on the front lines, you know, are they going to become ill? you know, exhaustion, you know, things of that nature? so, yes, my biggest question is how long? i guess no one can really answer that queion, how long is this going to really go on? from healthcare workers.u before i respond, i want to show you pictures we've got in from some of the front line healthcare workers in washingtot state, hereem cobbling together protective gear out of office supplies because of a reached. they've already what do you say to them, chevon, to the americans who rely on them from n e weeks to months ahead? >> unfortunately, we have failed in really doing the solid anning that would have prepared us to be able to respond in a pandemic. now, what we see is ingenuity really happening with healthcarr wo that being said, we need for our
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health systems and nurses nd othe think about how are we going to sustain ourselves? how are we going to look at otaffing? are we going to en shifts to allow for more rest between when we have to work? d are we taking care of ourselves mentally and physically and actuallour first speaker, the public health nurse, we have also failed to maintain a public health infrastructure that isri absolutelycal to responding to this kind of system. we cantnd should be beter. we need to learnmro this -- from what has happened with thi pandemic. an reporter: dr. jha, people will hear failur failure and failure and wonder can we be ready? can the hospitals get th face maes, the ventilators and staffing? will those needs be met by what the federal government a others are doing now? >> let me echo cheryl's point. it has been a fai. we've had two months to prepare for this pandemic, we've known
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this was coming and have not responded adequately. so if the question is are we going to have enough personal protective equipment masks and gloves to keep nurses and doctors healthy so they can take not unless we work really hard to do it. we've got to ramp up production. this has to be a federal response. the federal government has to make thit a top pri we can have all the hospital beds and all the i.c.u. beds, butf we don't have nurses and doctors ready to take care of people, those beds will be aseless. i have to say, ie not seen the urgency coming out to have the white house on making this as much of a priority it needs to be. >> reporter: you've not seen that yet. let me make sure people out ere are getting some of the right information in terms of how they can be processinghis. dr. purva grover who we will hear from next, a medical director of pediatric emergency department at the cleveland clinic, tells us how to mesge to our patients. >> i can tell you first hand, i
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was working a shift yesterday evening, there remains considerable confusion and chaos amongst our patient population and, at this time, taking the time to sit down with them and explaining, because if they're able to explain once the family, the message goes throughout the community and that's extremely important. >> reporter: to address some of the confusion, who should be going to the hospitals? what are the symptoms people are lookin for? >> right now, if you're having an emergency, a heart attack, a stroke, been in a car accident, people need to go to the hospital, that has to remain that way. if you're hang symptoms, you're worried you may have covid 19, you have a fever, a cough, the right thing to do is to reach out toor your doy phone or by some other mechanism depending on your risk profile, depending on how serious your symptoms are. ideally i would love to test everybody like that but we can'
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beca're still rationing testing, but it's working with your doctor find out what the right care is. >> reporter: cheryf you had to tell people here are two things you can do now to feel prepared, what should you do? self-isolate. we're doing it already. don't go into crowds, take care of yourself, get plenty of restf maybe turnsome of the social med that's hyping your anxiety a little bt and keefe your hands clean. that's really what's going to help us bend tis curve.l >> che peterson and dr. ashish jh, thank you. >> thank you. >> reporter: we hit a milestone this week in america with west virginia confirming it's first case.
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novel coronavirus is now in all 50 states and u.s. territories. hotspo include washington state, california, and new york, but here's a look at the virus' spread across the entireun y. >> woodruff: now, let's talk to one the top officials overseeing our nationa response: dr. anthony fauci, director of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases. he joins me from the natnal institutes of health. dr. futurey, thank you so much for joining us. now that the united states has begun this massive mobilization, the country's virtually shut down. is it fair to say that americans are starting to get their arms around this crisis? >> yes, i think, as a whole, as a countcouple of things, judy, they're starting to really only from within, when you see the new cases every single day,h but looking att's happened at other countries -- ina chi, in south korea, in japan, to some extent, an now in europe, where most of the new cases arising globall are coming om europe. that, together, with the very
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forceful approach that's been taking to containment and mitigation right now, i thinkth people of the united states, at least from what i can see, there are some exceptions, judy, some, i think, disturbing exceptions where you pictures which are not, you know, totally representativtrof the co but people in bars and in dances and in parties. if you look at the guidelines put out just a couple of days ago, they wereecided upon because of some serious reflection about what the besto thing tor the american public, and those guidelines should rely be read carefully by everyone. you know, the idea about making sure people who ale ederly and particularly those with underlying conditions should self-isolate, stay away from crowds and bars, all the kinds they're very pelled out there. i think, for the most part, the country is seeing that. of course, it can bein nvenient, but this is a very to present something th couldve
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get very bad, tont blut so that it is within reason so that we can contain. i think we can do it. judy, i know we can do it, but we just need to implement the things that have been suggested. >> woodruff: so just quickly, you mentioned china, no new cases there. today, they reported for a first time in a long time. does that geve you a snse and others a sense of how long the u.s. is going to be dealing with this? >> well, again, we get asked that all the time. one cannot give a definitive date about an x -- in x number of weeks we're going to be okay and we can go back to normal. t that reason, whine the guidelines came out, they came out as a 15-day interim guideline to reevaluate attend of that period to see where we're going because, obviously, this is soething that is formidable. when you look at the numbers that are going up, we've got to see if we ct ahead of the curve. you know, i always say -- and i believe it's true -- that when you react to something and it has to do with an infectious
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disease outbreak, when yo thi you are overreacting, you are probably reacting appropriately or maybe underreacting. so i know people are a litt concerned about, well, how long is this going to last? how inconvenient is it going to be? lest just hold tight ad see ho things will go over the next couple of weks. >> reporter: first, what president trump had to say about testing for new drugs, anti-malaria drugs, how confident are scientists th there's a real potential with some of these? >> judy, that's a good qued sti, really is a question of a balance. none of the drugs that are out there right now have been definitively proven to be saf d effective, but -- and it's some with some suggestions,re sometimes anecdotal, which aregr not controls, some in animal models. when you have an outbreak where ere are no specific
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therapies -- we were faced with this very clearly during the early years of h.i.v. before we ehad no available effective and safe drugs -- what you do is strike a balance between making something available to the public, at the same time you do it under thauspices of a protocol, and it could be a relatively locoose pro like an expanded access protocol, and o en dsome compassionate usage where you have a balance between getting things to people who need it but, at the same time, not just throwing drugs out there that you don't know anything about. you really have to have some sort of a period of time -- soma protocol to look at safety and to get some efficacy signal. that's what the president was talking about, that's what steve hahn, the commissioner of the f.d.a. was talking about food. >> wooesdruff: vice ent mike pence said today covteid 19 s are available in all 50
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states. we know that they are not available everywhere where they g e needed. dr. fauci, how lfore they ar there every place they're needed? >> judy, i can't give yo aate when every place in every state in every locatiois going to get it, but what i can tell you with some confidee that our new embracing and partnering with the private sector ande getting the stnd local individuals involved in implementing that, we're going to see vry dramatic uptick in not only the number of cases that are -- tests that are available, but the number of tests that are actlly done, and that's the important thing bacause, you remembek, tests were available but they weren't being implemented. i'm confident it's going to go way up. hesitate to say on this date every single person who will need it will get it because you can never guarantee that. is regularly referring to this as the chinese virus, and now many people are denofncing his ushe term.
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what do you think about that and have you spoken with the president about it? >> you know,'ve had conversations about that. i, obviously, can't control what the president says, but the fact is i don't do tht and many other people don't, hopefully people will not be doing tha you know, it just gets tohe point, whenever you put a designation on it, ysere al is a bit of stigma associated with that. >> woodruff: the whiteouse also said today masks and other personal protective equipment healthcare providers need, they say it's being made available quickly. but you're still hearing about doctors, i heard a physician an hour ago in s rhode islaaying she's talking to colleagues all over the country who don't have enough masks o protective gear. how long, when is that going to be available? >> judy, not to be evasive, i can tell you very soon. but a couple of things have come out over the last couple of the president aounced he's employed t department of defse to get from their stockpiles not only ventilators but also millions and millions
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of masks. again, we don't have all th answer also right now today, but everything is in motion to make a lot re of these available. >> woodruff: and quickly, you mentioned earlier the elderly, those with underlying health conditions, most vulnerable, but there's also new information that younger people may be mor vulnerable than previously thought. new data coming in, not just this country but other countries. what should young penow? >> well, first of all, the still iearly much less of a risk of sern ious impact younger person, no doubt about ahat. however, we're sing to see that there are some younger people, now that we know moe cases, many have underlying condit lns. we need ok at it more carefully to see how many of them actually have underlying conditions. and it isn't their youth that's at risk, it's the underlying condition. we don't know that n now, proclamations about that. but it brings up a good point,
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judy. it m that young people should make sure that they protect themselves from getting infected for two very important reasons -- one, their own health. this is not a trivial infection. but, number, two even if they get an infection that's mild and inconsequential for them, the fact that they are infected, they may inadvertently infect someone like a grandmother or grandfather who's elderly, like lrelative, a friend,ed one, or anyone in society who has an underlying condition that would make them more susceptible. so you have the responsibility for yourself, for your own health as a young pern, but you also have a societal -- and i think in some spects aoral responsibility -- to make sure thatour infection, which may not bother you a lot, dodresn't atically hurt someone else. so that's my message to the young people >> woodruff: fally, dr. fauci, do you have a message
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for americans who are watching and listening tnight who are frightened and worried for theid themselves is this. d> the message we have is, obviously, it's standable when you're tearing all the things going on that you be frighten. the message to the american public is we're doing everything we possibly can to put everything and anything in place that would mitigate or dampen the effect of this. so, again, hang in there. this is something that will pas, hopefully, will pass with minimum of damage. but we are all in this tory and obviate it. >> woodruff: dr. anthony fauci, thank you ver. >> gd to be with you, judy. >> woodruff: unlike practically every other challeere we face as ans, as humans, no one is immune from this virus. it has the potential to harm us l, unless we take steps limit its spread, to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and people we dot know. we can address its potential to
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do harm by, in turn,ur own efforts to do good. our humanity, the thing that rable to this virus, is also the thing that can keep it at bay. whonh is why we choose to en a hopeful note tonight, knowing that americans coming together have the capacity toil and that concludespecial,. "confronting coronovirus." be sure to join usomorrow night on the pbs newshour. and you can always find more on our web site, www.pbs.org/newshour, and on our social pages. we wish you al good health and comfort. good night. >> and by contributions to you pbs station from viewersike you.
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thank yo captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> you're watching pbs.
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